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The United States biographical dictionary and portrait gallery of eminent and self made men. Iowa volume online

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the Congregational church.

Domestically, he is the husband of one wife, Zoe
M. Brown, taken on the 12th of July, 1855, -at Leb-
anon, Ohio. Is the father of five children, and is
happy in the society of this wife and these children.



SAMUEL ADAMS JAMES, capitalist, was born
in Botetourt county, Virginia, on the 27th of De-
cember, 1823, his parents being Thomas James and
Barbara nh Britts. His father was of mixed Scotch
and Welsh lineage, while his mother was of pure
German stock. The former had a very limited
common-school education, but was nevertheless a
man of great shrewdness and considerable general
information, while the latter never attended school
so much as a single day. Although English was
sometimes spoken in her father's family, yet the
German was that most commonly used. By the
time she was grown, however, she could read quite
fluently in both English and German. Among the
earliest youthful recollections of our subject is that
of hearing his mother reading alternately from her
English and German bibles. She was a pious and
exemplary woman, a member of the Christian church,
and left the impress of her pure and practical char-
acter upon her son. The father inclined to the
Baptist faith, but never united with any church.

In the year 1829 the family removed from Vir-
ginia to the State of Indiana, and settled in Hen-
dricks county, in which and the adjoining county
of Montgomery Samuel A. obtained a common-
school education. His school opportunities, how-
ever, did not commence until after he had attained
his eighth year, at which period he was able to both
read and write. At this period books were not as
easily obtained as now; especially was this the case
in the wilds of Indiana; but he possessed a peculiar
fondness for study, that would, doubtless, under
more favorable auspices have carried him to distinc-
tion in the world of letters. His early library was
composed of the Bible, Weem's " Life of Washington
and Marion," and "Peter Parley's" young reader.
The first and only newspaper taken by the family
for many years was Joseph C. Neal's " Saturday

Gazette," published at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania,
embracing the time of his charcoal sketches, from
the perusal of which Samuel derived much profit
and general information. ,

As soon as he was old enough he had recourse
to the usual expedient of aspiring youths, school
teaching. In 1840 he taught the Byrd School in
Montgomery county, Indiana, many of his former
schoolmates being now his pupils, the- school term
at that period consisting of the three winter months.
This he continued three terms, being at the same
time an industrious and diligent student himself.

In the spring of 1842 he resolved to pitch his
tent still farther west, and turning his back upon
the scenes of his boyhood, he started alone and on
foot, with a pair of leather saddle-bags straddled
over his shoulders, and crossed the states of Indiana
and Illinois into the then territory of Iowa, and to
the town of Washington, which he reached on the
25th of March, 1842. The troubles of the Black-
hawk war were now over, and everything being
settled upon a sure foundation, Iowa was considered
the most promising state of the Union, a promise
which has been amply fulfilled in the case of our

In the fall of the same year he taught one term of
school in Washington ; but in the year following
(1843) he removed to Keokuk county, and made a
claim about four miles north of Sigourney. In the
autumn of the year, however, he returned to Wash-
ington and spent the following winter in the study
of law, and was admitted to the bar in Sigourney
soon after.

As yet the territory now forming Keokuk. county
was still a part of Washington, and in March, 1844,
Mr. James was appointed clerk of the district court,
with a special commission to organize the county of
Keokuk, and accordingly, equipped with the same old


iaj* - &-r^^n-'- r



saddle-bags, he journeyed to the southeastern part
of the county, where he arranged places for holding
the first election, and designated the judges thereof,
after which he canvassed the returns and qualified
the first set of county officers. On the loth of May of
the same year Sigourney was selected as the seat of
justice, and about the ist of June our subject ar-
rived upon the spot, the luxuriant prairie grass as
yet undisturbed by ought save the long pole which
had been set up to designate the site of the court-
house. Finding board and lodging at the only
claim cabin in the vicinity, he erected on the town
quarter a log court-house twelve by sixteen feet, in
which primitive structure was held the first district
court of the county, commencing on the first Mon-
day of July, Judge Williams, of Muscatine, then
Bloomington, presiding. Soon after this he was
appointed postmaster of Sigourney, simultaneously
with which Governor Clarke sent him, without so-
licitation, a commission as notary public. He re-
mained at Sigourney till the autumn of 1847, when
the seat of justice having been removed by a vote of
the county to Lancaster, he followed the office to
the latter place. The removal of the county seat
had engendered considerable local feeling, and the
movement having been strenuously opposed by Mr.
James, the same vote that decided the question in
the affirmative subsequently defeated his reelection
to the office of clerk, and in the autumn of 1849
he shook the dust of Keokuk county off his feet
and removed to the city of Keokuk, in Lee county,
where he was soon after appointed deputy clerk of
the district court, with headquarters then at Fort
Madison. In 1852 he was elected clerk of the
county, and reelected in 1854. Having no resources
with which to command the public favor other than
the hardest industry and the sternest faithfulness
in the discharge of duty, he worked so laboriously
and incessantly that his health gave way, and after
struggling for a year in the vain hope of recuper-
ation, he was finally obliged to resign as the only
means of prolonging his life. In the autumn of 1853
he returned to Keokuk county in time to cast his
vote in favor of the removal of the county seat back
to Sigourney.

In May, 1861, he was appointed by President
Lincoln postmaster of Sigourney, a position which
he retained over five years, but refusing to " Andy-
Johnsonize," as the movement was then phrased,
he was superseded in August, 1866. The interval
between that date and the present time he has

devoted to private pursuits, giving his attention
mainly to transactions in real estate, the preparation
of abstracts of titles, and in the brokerage and
money-loaning business. The large advance in real
estate, together with prudent investments in other
property, have combined to make him one of the
richest men of his county.

In politics, he was raised in the democratic faith,
but was always opposed to slavery ; like the pious
John Wesley, he regarded the institution as " the
sum of all villainies " ; and although he found it hard
to break with old friends, still, when the political
issue came to be hinged on this question, he hesi-
tated not as to duty, and took his stand with the
party of freedom. Owing to defective eyesight, from
which he has suffered .since the age of sixteen, he
was unable to enter the military service during the
slaveholders' rebellion, but he did excellent work
for the Union cause with his pen in the columns of
the Sigourney " News," of which he was the princi-
pal editor during the first years of the war. In
addition to the offices already named, he held the
position of alderman of Fort Madison in 1854, and
that of mayor of Sigourney in i86c. He has also
served a number of terms on the school board, and
took a prominent part in advocating the erection of
the magnificent school-house which is now the glory
and ornament of the southern part of the town.

He has always been a man of public spirit, advo-
cating every measure calculated to benefit the city ;
and when the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific
Railroad Company proposed extending their line to
Sigourney, he was one of fifty citizens of the county
to pledge and pay for the right of way.

In 1847 he became a member of the Independent
Order of Odd-Fellows, and was for several terms
district grand master, and also served as representa-
tive to the grand lodge of the state. During the
centennial year of the republic he made an extended
sojourn at the Philadelphia exposition, and contrib-
uted a series of very valuable letters on that sub-
ject to the Sigourney " News," which were among the
most interesting and graphic of any that were pub-
lished in the state on that subject.

He was brought up in the " Campbellite " or Chris-
tian church, that being the faith of his mother. In
1850, however, he united with the Methodist Episco-
pal church at Keokuk. Seventeen years later his at-
tention was directed to the writings pertaining to what
is called the " Second Advent " of Christ, and he was
not a little surprised at the large number of passages



of holy scripture which emphasized this doctrine
which had hitherto failed to arrest his attention.
His study of the prophecies of Daniel and the Rev-
elation of St. John led him to adopt the peculiar
views of the Adventist, and he now looks for the
•' second coming '' of our Lord in person at a period
in the near future — the exact time not being re-
vealed to man. — when this earth shall be renovated
and become the paradise it was intended to be from
the beginning, and be the everlasting habitation of
the saved of the human race of all ages. In con-
nection with this subject, he also considered the
question of the change of the Sabbath from the
seventh to the first day of the week. To his
equal surprise he was unable to find a single- text of
scripture that to him authorized, much less directed,
the change ; on the contrary, finding many injunc-
tions to observe the royal law, he decided to ob-
serve the fourth commandment of the decalogue,
and, true to himself as he has always been to others,
he has, ever since January, 1873, laid aside business
on the " seventh " day, regarding it, as Elihu Burritt
did, as the only Sabbath to be observed in holy writ.
He was married in Sigourney on the 2d of Sep-
tember, 1847, to Miss Sarah Moody, daughter of the
late Thomas Moody, of Licking county, Ohio, an
extensive manufacturer of pottery ware, and one of
the most genial men of his time ; a most excellent
woman, to whose good sense, careful prudence, pa-
tient forbearance and holy influence is largely owing
the success which has crowned his efforts in this
life. They have had six children, three of whom

died in infancy, and three survive. The eldest, a
son named George Stover, is now in business with
his father. The others are daughters, named Libbie
Ann and Ida Bell, the elder of whom is said to be
the best pianist in Sigourney.

In physical appearance, Mr. James is about five
feet ten inches high, and weighs about one hundred
and sixty-five pounds. In demeanor, polished and
gentlemanly, courteous, graceful and dignified, mod-
est and unassuming, he is known at sight by
almost every inhabitant of the county. He is,
moreover, a man of undoubted integrity and of the
highest moral character ; steady and sober in all
his habits, prompt and transparent in all his deal-
ings, and a most generous contributor to benevolent
and religious enterprises. His experience in this re-
gard has been, that the more he has given, the more
he was prospered ; and yet his gifts have been so
quietly and unostentatiously bestowed, that his right
hand has not known of the doings of the left. In
the decline of life the sun of God's love shines upon
him, surrounded by a happy family, and by kind and
trusting friends and neighbors. In the struggle of
life, and in battling for the right, he has sometimes
been reviled because wrong, injustice and decep-
tion did not prevail.

With a competency for old age accumulated by
honest industry and by painstaking forethought, a
comfortable and happy home, together with a con-
science void of offense toward God or man, he
awaits calmly the summons that ^hall call him to a
higher state of existence.



HARDIN NOWLIN was born on the nth of
October, 1804, in Saint Clair, Illinois. His
parents were Lewis and Mary (Whiteside) Nowlin.
He lived at home until of age, working on the farm
and attending a district school in the winters.

At the age of twenty-one he went into the mining
business in Missouri, and in 1829 removed to Jo
Davies county, Illinois, settling near Galena and
continuing to mine. In June, 1833, immediately
after the Sac and Fox Indians were removed from
Iowa, he went to Dubuque, and in that county
made his home for nearly forty years. Part of the
time he was in the mercantile business in the vil-

lage, now city, of Dubuque, and part of the time
on a farm. The first year he was in Dubuque he
owned, at one time, about ten acres of land near
the center of the present city, and sold the whole
at one sale for one hundred dollars. About the
same time he sold lots on Main street for seventy-
five cents each. He secured those lots by placing
four logs in the form of a square on each of them.
In 1 87 1 Mr. Nowlin removed to Waterloo, Iowa,
where he still resides. During his middle life, and
up to a few years ago, he was the recipient of re-
peated honors at the hands of the people.

Mr, Nowlin was a member of the first Wisconsin



territorial legislature held at Belmont, Wisconsin, in
1836. The next year he was a member of the same
body, when it met at Burlington, then in Wisconsin
territory, now in Iowa. When Iowa became a sep-
arate territory he was for three or four years a mem-
ber of what is now called the general assembly,
the last two sessions in which he served being held
at Iowa City. He was always in the lower house,
and serving so long and always being a diligent
man, he became quite influential. For twelve or
fourteen years he was surveyor of Dubuque county,
and very accurate in all his work. During part
of this time he was also engaged in government
surveys in Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota. He was
careful and reliable, and enjoyed a good reputation
in this line of work.

Mr. Nowlin has been a faithful member of the
Methodist Episcopal church for a period of more
than forty years.

He was a democrat until the rebellion broke out,
since then he has been a republican.

On the isth of May, 1825, he was married to
Miss Martha Eckert, of Kentucky. They have had
four children, and two are living. One of them,
James L , is a merchant at Peosta, Dubuque county,
the other, Mary C, is the wife of Henry B. Allen,
Esq., an attorney at Waterloo.

Though living a frontier life for many of his
younger years, Mr. Nowlin has always been a man
of exemplary habits, and now, past his three-score
years and ten, he has a steady nerve and writes a
neat hand, almost as good as in middle life.



JOHN F. McGUIRE, lawyer, and brevet-major
in the Union army, was born in a small town
among the Adirondacks, New York, on the 2 2d of
February, 1838. He is of Irish ancestry, as his name
denotes, his forefathers having early emigrated to
this country. His father was a country merchant,
and having failed in business in 1850, the son was
sent to Canada to be educated. He, however, be-
coming homesick, the mother's tender sympathies
for her absent child induced his father to recall
him. At the age of thirteen, being of an active
and independent temperament, he apprenticed him-
self, without his father's knowledge, to learn the
nail-making trade. In this occupation he contin-
ued nearly three years, working in Troy, New York,
and other localities. While in Troy, he was pur-
suaded by a Scotchman, a deserter from the British
army, to accompany him to South America. Arriv-
ing at New York city, on their way thither, they were
disappointed in securing immediate passage, and,
being destitue of means, his companion enlisted in
the United States army. Soon after, his own funds
becoming exhausted, he endeavored to find employ-
ment, but without success. As a last resort, he
pawned his dress coat for a small consideration, and
with the proceeds he, like the Prodigal Son, sought
the paternal mansion. Previously, while in Brook-
lyn, with an eye to the navy, he visited the receiv-
ing ship North Carolina, then lying in the navy-

yard, and decided not to become a sailor, wisely
concluding that a sailor's life was not as poetical
and romantic as the imagination of Ned Buntline
has pictured it. Having resumed again home-life,
he devoted his time principally to reading law and
teaching, alternately. His limited means at this pe-
riod precluded his entering college, and he finally
determined, at least for the present, to relinquish the
design for a more extended course of study. He con-
tinued the study of the law, however, and labored to
qualify himself for the duties of this profession.

At the breaking out of the rebellion he retired to
Montreal, Canada, partly with the view to learn
French, but more especially to gratify his mother,
who feared he might be persuaded to unite in the
pending struggle. At this time the Canadian senti-
ment was very bitter against the north. While pur-
suing his studies quietly as an American youth, his
patriotism was often insulted and his country vilely
traduced. On the following 4th of July, however,
unitedly with two or three other American students,
he publicly vindicated his country by displaying the
American flag and firing a national salute. The
love of country had often led him to walk the en-
tire length of the wharfs at Montreal to obtain one
look at his country's flag; and when he saw the
stars and stripes floating only over the American
consul's house his eyes filled with tears and his
young heart with emotion.



After the disastrous battle of Bull Run, the Cana-
dian feelings became so abusive and vindictive, he
left the school and returned home. He felt that his
country demanded his services, and his patriotism
would not permit him longer to withhold it. In his
native town not one man had responded to the call
of the government. In two weeks a draft would be
made to fill the quota. In this emergency he was
appointed, young as he was, first lieutenant, with
power to secure enlistments. At his own expense
he opened an office, hung out the stars and stripes,
and by canvassing the adjacent section, in due time
obtained forty-five good and able-bodied men for
his country's service, and took charge, under the
title of lieuteng.nt commanding. He had so ex-
hausted his limited means in securing his company,
that on arriving in New York city he had no funds
to purchase himself a uniform. In this extremity
his company made him a present of a sword, sash,
belt and a revolver, and Lieut.-Colonel Thomas Arm-
strong presented him with a suit of military clothes.

His military career was throughout varied and
honorable. The first duty of his company was to
be sent on detached mission with the provost-mar-
shal south of the Potomac. He subsequently did
difficult and responsible duty in the vicinity of
Washington. Having been called to the depart-
ment of the Gulf, he served with Banks in his Red
river expedition, participating in all the skirmishes
and fights in his subsequent harassing retreat, and
commanded the rear guard after the battle of the
Sabine Cross-Roads. Leaving New Orleans in July,
1863, he subsequently participated in the various
battles and skirmishes in defending the capital from
the invading rebel army under Early, and assisted
in driving him back across the Potomac. He like-

wise participated in all the marches, skirmishes and
battles of General Sheridan in the Shenandoah val-
ley, and after the assassination of President Lincoln
was on picket duty in and around Washington un-
til the capture of Booth, and guarded the United
States arsenal during the trial of Mrs. Surrat and
the other conspirators. Having discharged faithful-
ly and with honor these high and responsible duties,
he was subsequently ordered to Savannah, Georgia,
where he was detailed as assistant provost-marshal
of the city, until October, .1865, at which period he
was ordered to New York to be mustered out of
service. He was promoted by the governor of New
York to brevet-major, for gallant and meritorious
services. He had previously been made captain in
command of the company he recruited and led into
service. His distinguished services have won for
him the esteem and respect of his fellow-citizens
and the gratitude of his country.

Having returned to civil pursuits, he resumed his.
law studies, and in 1867 was admitted to the bar.
In 1868 he located in Clinton, Iowa, where he has
devoted himself energetically and most successfully
to his profession.

He has manifested commendable public spirit in
the growth and prosperity of the town, and has ta-
ken an active part in every public improvement,
and contributed liberally to every enterprise. His
well-known and acknowledged activity and zeal
have tended greatly to advance the public improve-
ments in and around the vicinity of Clinton.

He is emphatically a self-made man, and a most
laborious student and worker. Possessing a sound
constitution and robust figure, he promises many
years of useful labor to the state, in whose growth
he has always been so profoundly interested.



AMONG the successful business men of Story
£\. county residing at the seat of justice is Will-
iam Lockridge, a native of Virginia. He was born
in Augusta county, on the 23d of June, 1832, his
parents being John and Eliza (Erwin) Lockridge.
The Lockridges are of Scotch-Irish descent, the
progenitor of the family in this country settling in
Virginia at an early day. John Lockridge was a
soldier in the second war with the mother country.

and at the time of William's birth was a farmer in
the Old Dominion. William was the sixth child in
a family of seven children. He remained at home
until of age, farming in the summers and attending
a very ordinary common school in the winters. At
twenty-one he attended a graded school a full year;
in his estimation, as we once heard him intimate, a^
precious expenditure of time and money, as it fitted
him for a prosperous business life,



John Lockridge located a quarter-section of land
in Story county as early as 1852, and when William
was of age promised the land to any one of his sons
who would accept and improve it. William accepted
the proposition, and after the year's schooling which
his father had the thoughtfulness to suggest, and
some subsequent delays, including teaching for five
months, he came to Iowa, reaching Nevada in May,
1856. He had no immediate means of improving
the land, which was one mile southeast of Nevada,
and, luckily, the next month obtained a situation as
deputy treasurer and recorder of the county under
Mr. J. C. Moss. The next April Mr. Moss resigned ;
the judge appointed Mr. Lockridge to fill the va-
cancy, and in August, 1857, he was elected by the
people for the term of two years, at the end of which
time the legislature extended his terra from August
to January. He held the office nearly three years,
and made a competent and faithful servant of the

In i860 Mr. Lockridge went on his land, worth
then less than one thousand dollars; carefully culti-

vated it for ten years; sold it in 1870 for fifty-six
hundred dollars, and went into the lumber business,
which he still follows, and in which he has marked
success. He receives about three hundred car-loads
of lumber annually, selling, on an average, about
three million feet.

Mr. Lockridge has held various offices in the
municipality of Nevada, and is a very useful citizen.

In politics, he has always been a democrat, but is
not very active. Business with him takes the prece-
dence of everything else.

He is a Master Mason, and a chapter member of
the Odd-Fellows fraternity.

Mr. Lockridge's wife was Miss Lydia A. Letson, a
native of Ohio, residing at Nevada when married,
on the 19th of February, i860. She has had seven

Online Librarypub American Biographical Publishing CompanyThe United States biographical dictionary and portrait gallery of eminent and self made men. Iowa volume → online text (page 67 of 125)